15 Top Weekend Getaways From Columbia, South Carolina

There are so many great ideas for weekend getaways from Columbia, South Carolina.

From relaxing beach trips to exciting outdoor adventures, there’s something for everyone.

Whether you’re traveling alone or with your boo, these destinations offer plenty of attractions and activities to make your trip enjoyable and memorable.

spiral shaped fountain in front of a city skyline

The list below is organized based on distance from Columbia, starting with the closest to the farthest.

The drive times listed are approximations. The length of time it takes you to drive to each destination will of course depend on several things such as the time of day, your exact starting and ending point, and the weather, etc.

Plan the perfect weekend getaway with this free printable travel planner.

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Augusta, Georgia

Augusta Georgia skyline

Distance from Columbia: 76 miles

Approximate drive time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Augusta, Georgia, is known around the world for its famous Masters golf tournament. However, this flourishing town has much more to offer than just a golf course.

Augusta is filled with things to do. Take a relaxing stroll along the Augusta Riverwalk.

Explore the Augusta Museum of History or admire the artwork at the Morris Museum of Art. It’s the oldest art museum in the U.S. specifically dedicated to Southern American art and artists.

If you’re looking for a place to stay, the Augusta Marriott at the Convention Center overlooks the Savannah River at the Augusta Riverwalk.

If you’re looking for a small, boutique inn, check out Old Town Inn in Augusta’s historic Old Towne Neighborhood.

Charlotte, North Carolina

city street in Charlotte North Carolina

Distance from Columbia: 93 miles

Approximate drive time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

If you’re seeking an unforgettable urban getaway, Charlotte is a perfect destination idea. It also makes a great day trip from Columbia. There’s no shortage of activities in North Carolina’s Queen City.

From the vibrant Uptown district to beautiful greenspaces to historic sites, there’s something for everyone in Charlotte.

  • Immerse yourself in the stunning Romare Bearden Park
  • Explore the NASCAR Hall of Fame
  • Enjoy Uptown’s Liberty Walk
  • Walk through UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens
  • Pay a visit to the Billy Graham Library
  • Take in a concert at PNC Music Pavilion

The Ivey’s Hotel is located in the heart of Charlotte. It’s just steps from The Mint Museum Uptown.

The Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel is located right next to Romare Bearden Park in the center of Uptown Charlotte and offers boutique-style accommodations with modern amenities.

For a budget-friendly option, the Holiday Inn Charlotte Center City is worth checking out. This hotel is located close to all the attractions in Uptown Charlotte, but it won’t break the bank.

Greenville, South Carolina

Large brick and glass building on the bank of the Reedy River in Greenville, South Carolina.

Distance from Columbia: 105 miles

Approximate drive time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Greenville, South Carolina, is a perfect place for a weekend getaway from Columbia. The New York Times named it one of their “52 Places to Go in 2023.”

From its performing arts opportunities to award-winning restaurants, there’s much to enjoy during a weekend in Greenville.

Make sure to explore Falls Park on the Reedy before heading over to Main Street for some shopping and dining. And don’t miss the Greenville County Museum of Art or discover nature at one of the state parks close by.

The Westin Poinsett is a classic hotel choice in the heart of downtown Greenville.

Or try the new Grand Bohemian Lodge Greenville on the banks of the Reedy River in the center of town.

Charleston, South Carolina

Fountain with a large pineapple on top in waterfront park in Charleston, South Carolina.

Distance from Columbia: 115 miles

Approximate drive time: 2 hours

Charleston is the epitome of Southern historical cities. It’s the most popular travel destination in South Carolina and makes a great weekend trip from Columbia.

Top sites to visit during your Charleston weekend trip include Fort Sumter, Aiken-Rhett House, Historic Charleston City Market, and The Battery.

And don’t forget the amazing food you’ll find in Charleston. (*whispers* This means you must try the hushpuppies.)

You’ll enjoy beautiful accommodations near the top fine dining and shopping in the city (on King Street) if you stay at The Dewberry.

The Doubletree Mount Pleasant is outside the city, but it is easier to save money on hotels in Mount Pleasant. It’s also close to two scrumptious breakfast places: Vicious Biscuit and Page’s Okra Grill.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

crowds on a beach with tall buildings in the background

Distance from Columbia: 155 miles

Approximate drive time: 2 hours, 50 minutes

Myrtle Beach is one of the most popular beaches in South Carolina. With 215 days of sun a year, it’s no wonder. It makes the chances of enjoying great weather during your getaway pretty high.

Golfers love that there are an eye-popping 90 courses in the area. For outdoor adventurers, Myrtle Beach offers a variety of activities, including kayaking, parasailing, and jet skiing.

Don’t forget to pack all of your beach day essentials.

For even more things to do, you could venture to Murrells Inlet to explore the MarshWalk and Brookgreen Gardens.

A vacation condo or beach house rental is a great option for Myrtle Beach.

If a hotel is more what you’re looking for, here are a couple of top options:

Stay in the heart of the Beach at Hilton Grand Vacations Club Ocean Enclave. This beachfront property offers suites with kitchens just steps from the Boardwalk and Promenade.

Check out the SpringHill Suites Myrtle Beach Oceanfront. This is a newer property that offers an outdoor pool with a sun deck and a lazy river.

Hilton Head Island

People on a Hilton Head Island beach in the sun

Distance from Columbia: 155 miles

Approximate drive time: 3 hours

Hilton Head Island makes a perfect beach weekend getaway from Columbia. It’s one of my top picks for romantic getaways in the South.

Travel + Leisure has named it one of the best islands in the continental U.S., and I completely agree. 

For public beach access head to Coligny Beach; it’s a designated swim area with free parking. The small park there is also quite charming.

If biking is your thing, you’ll love the miles of beaches and recreational paths to explore. They’re great for walking too.

For a luxurious stay, try the Inn & Club at Harbour Town, the only Forbes four-star hotel on Hilton Head Island.

We loved our stay at Marriott Hilton Head Resort & Spa, which offers great beach views.

Asheville, North Carolina

large stone house with a large green lawn and tourists roaming around

Distance from Columbia: 160 miles

Approximate drive time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Asheville, North Carolina, is my top choice among possible romantic getaways from Columbia.

You’ll find this great city tucked away in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. With its laid-back attitude, incredible eateries, and historical Biltmore Estate, you won’t want to miss out on all this city has to offer.

I find the vibe there reminds me of the Pacific Northwest. It has kind of a Seattle/Portland essence to it. Just my opinion.

Because Hubby and I got engaged at Biltmore Estate, it holds a special place in our hearts. Read more about how to spend a weekend at Biltmore Estate.

There are many wonderful places to stay in Asheville, North Carolina. For the ultimate luxurious and romantic spa weekend try the Omni Grove Park Inn – Asheville.

For stays on the Biltmore property (which I think everyone should try at least once), The Inn on Biltmore Estate is our top choice, but we also loved staying at the Village Hotel. We’ve spent four wedding anniversaries at Biltmore.

DoubleTree by Hilton Biltmore/Asheville is a more budget-friendly option and is conveniently located close to the Biltmore Estate, Biltmore Village, and not far from downtown Asheville.

Savannah, Georgia

Large fountain in a park in Savannah Georgia

Distance from Columbia: 160 miles

Approximate drive time: 2 hours, 35 minutes

For the perfect Southern getaway, look no further than a weekend in Savannah, Georgia.

With its distinct atmosphere and delicious cuisine, it’s practically impossible to find a better southern destination. Even if you go to Savannah only for the food, I think you’ll leave happy.

Must-do stops include Forsyth Park, River Street, the Waving Girl Statue, River Street, and Leopold’s Ice Cream.

And Savannah is one town where I would recommend doing a hop-on hop-off trolley tour through the historic district or a history walking tour.

If you’re having trouble deciding between Savannah and Charleston, try combining them into one itinerary for the perfect Lowcountry road trip.

And there are a lot of great things to do between Savannah and Charleston.

Savannah is full of wonderful hotels and inns. The Marshall House is one of the most popular and highly rated (by guests) places to stay in Savannah.

If you’re looking for a great view of both the historic Savannah Riverfront and the boats that travel along it, we enjoyed our stay at Marriott Savannah Riverfront. It’s just steps from the famous Waving Girl Statue at the end of River Street.

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Lake Junaluska

Distance from Columbia: 175 miles

Approximate drive time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Spending a weekend at Lake Junaluska is a unique and perfect way to relax and unwind. With its beautiful scenery and abundance of outdoor activities, there is something for everyone here.

Take advantage of all that nature has to offer at the lake: fishing, kayaking, bird watching, and swimming. You can also explore the area on foot on Lake Junaluska’s Walking Trail or enjoy a relaxing game of golf.

Lodging options include cabins, vacation rentals, and a couple of hotels and B&Bs.

The Terrace Hotel offers beautiful lake views, a heated pool, and easy access to all of the recreational activities the lake has to offer.

The Lambuth Inn appears on the Register of National Historic places and underwent a major renovation in 2018 to modernize and upgrade amenities.

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Cherokee, North Carolina

Distance from Columbia: 200 miles

Approximate drive time: 3 hours, 20 minutes

Beautiful Cherokee, North Carolina, is a lovely place to stay in the Smokies. It offers stunning mountain views, as well as plenty of attractions and activities.

In addition to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, some other popular tourist destinations in Cherokee are Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing stay in one of the lovely hotels or inns, or if you want something more rustic with a cabin rental to really take advantage of nature’s beauty, this area has it all.

Full disclosure: Hubby and I honeymooned near Cherokee, so I’m biased about it being a lovely place to enjoy a romantic getaway from Columbia.

Cherokee lodging options include:

  • Stonebrook Lodge: We enjoyed our stay at Stonebrook Lodge. It’s just minutes from Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Offers free parking and a continental breakfast.
  • Great Smokies Inn: Just minutes from the Oconaluftee Visitor Center and the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
  • Rivers Edge Motel: A highly rated and affordable option on the Oconaluftee River and minutes from Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Helen, Georgia

Bavarian-style buildings in Helen Georgia

Distance from Columbia: 200 miles

Approximate drive time: 3 hours, 20 minutes

Nestled in the beautiful North Georgia mountains, Helen is a tranquil alpine-style village with an abundance of things to do.

Helen has become well known as a top Christmas town and offers other special seasonal events and festivals. Don’t miss Anna Ruby Falls or have some fun tubing down the Chattahoochee River.

If you’re looking for B&B accommodations in the heart of town, try Black Forest Bed & Breakfast.

Or enjoy a romantic getaway focusing on North Georgia’s beautiful scenery at Valhalla Resort.

Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta Georgia skyline

Distance from Columbia: 215 miles

Approximate drive time: 3 hours, 35 minutes

Atlanta, Georgia, makes a great weekend getaway from Columbia, SC, especially for those who enjoy large cities.

There are so many things to do in Atlanta. “The Big A” offers visitors an exciting mix of history, culture, and entertainment. With its world-class museums, fun attractions, and endless shopping opportunities, there’s something for everyone in Atlanta.

Top sites include the Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site, the World of Coca-Cola, professional sports events, and the world-famous Georgia Aquarium.

There are many hotels in Atlanta you could choose from. Here are some of the top-rated options:

A mere nine minutes of walking can take you to both Centennial Olympic Park from the 4-star Candler Hotel Atlanta. It’s also quite close to the College Football Hall of Fame.

Hampton Inn & Suites Atlanta-Midtown is just about a 6-minute walk from the High Museum of Art and a couple of miles from Centennial Olympic Park.

Omni Hotel at the Battery Atlanta is at Truist Park, making it a great place if you’re going to an Atlanta Braves game during your getaway.

Jekyll Island

many driftwood branches on a sandy beach

Distance from Columbia: 245 miles

Approximate drive time: 3 hours, 45 minutes

Jekyll Island is one of the “Golden Isles” barrier islands off the coast of Georgia. It makes a great weekend getaway destination for anyone looking for a quiet beach retreat. Don’t miss Driftwood Beach on the northern end of the island.

Jekyll Island is also home to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, which offers educational programs and works to rescue and rehabilitate sick and injured turtles.

To enjoy a relaxing weekend at a historical 19th-century resort with beaches and biking trails nearby, try a stay at Jekyll Island Club Resort.

Hampton Inn & Suites Jekyll Island offers 3-star accommodations with free breakfast, and it’s just steps from the South Dunes Beach Boardwalk and Picnic Area.

Knoxville, Tennessee

Distance from Columbia: 265 miles

Approximate drive time: 4 hours, 15 minutes

Knoxville, Tennessee, makes a wonderful weekend trip from Columbia. With many exciting attractions and activities, you’ll be happily occupied throughout the entire weekend.

Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures like hiking or biking at Ijams Nature Center or want to explore the city’s rich history at places like Market Square and James White’s Fort, there are lots of things to do here.

Don’t miss Zoo Knoxville, the Knoxville Museum of Art, or Sunsphere in World’s Fair Park. Plus, if you have time on your hands or are taking a long weekend trip you can even visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Enjoy 4-star accommodations in the heart of Knoxville at The Tennessean. It’s just steps from Sunsphere and the Knoxville Museum of Art.

Cumberland House Knoxville is also conveniently located in the center of the action in Knoxville and is quite close to the University of Tennessee.

Amelia Island

Beach on Amelia Island in Northern Florida along the Atlantic Ocean

Distance from Columbia: 280 miles

Approximate drive time: 4 hours, 15 minutes

A popular beach vacation destination, Amelia Island boasts 13 miles of beaches in Northeast Florida.

In 2020, Travel + Leisure put Amelia Island at number 6 on its list of the top 15 islands in the United States. Southern Living also named it one of the 10 most romantic destinations in Florida.

Enjoy 5-star luxury at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. Guests love the beachfront location and excellent service.

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Final thoughts on weekend trips from Columbia, SC

Columbia, South Carolina, is a great place to start for weekend getaways.

With so many destinations within driving distance and plenty of attractions and activities available, taking a break from the “everyday” has never been easier or more enjoyable.

Whether you’re looking for a beach or a quaint town there are options that fit any budget and taste.

What’s your favorite weekend getaway from Columbia? Let me know in the comments below!

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